General Winners

WINNER: Barnaby Sharp – Nelson Mail/Stuff

JUDGES: Alan Young and John Gardne
‘’It does seem that “headline of the year” has come to mean “pun of the year”, but Barnaby Sharp’s world-plays are well-thought-out, effective and – most importantly – completely relevant to the stories they accompany.’

WINNER: 1 News Design Team – TVNZ

JUDGES: Daron Parton and Melissa Gardi
‘Instead of relying on formulaic tactics, the TVNZ News Graphics Team focuses on innovative approaches with thoughtful consideration of each show’s premise and audience. Clean, clear and easy to understand, the seamless and sophisticated integration of graphics creates a dynamic experience for all.’

RUNNER-UP: Toby Morris – The Spinoff

WINNER: Michelle Langstone – NZ Herald/NZME

JUDGES: Jim Tully and Michele Hewitson
‘The judges were disappointed that entries to this category comprised, overwhelmingly, pedestrian long news stories with little or no attention to the craft of writing or storytelling. Michelle Langstone is this category’s bright light for her magical profile of the night sky, and of its profiler, Naomi Arnold. The writing is simply lovely; the story beautifully constructed. She has a delightfully light touch, which made reading this profile a joy. She also wins our prize for best intro: “Naomi Arnold has a high-powered telescope roughly the dimensions of a dead body.’

WINNER: Toby Morris – The Spinoff

JUDGES: Daron Parton and Pat Campbell
‘Morris’s work has a real underlying passion, as well as interesting and original takes on current topics. His use of strong imagery and animation makes him a skilful and wry visual storyteller. His strip regarding a New Zealand Muslim’s response to the Christchurch massacre was very poignant.’

WINNER: Emma Espiner – Newsroom

JUDGES: Deborah Hill Cone and Greg Treadwel
‘Emma’s portfolio stopped you dead in your tracks and made you think. She has a storyteller’s ability not just to move the old narrative along, but to mirror a different reality some of us might not find so comfortable to see. Emma is both deeply informed and beautifully skilled at expressing her perspective in a nuanced, lyrical way which could be heard and not just intellectually understood, but also viscerally felt.’

RUNNER-UP: Simon Wilson – NZ Herald/NZME

‘The judges would like to acknowledge last year’s winner in this category Simon Wilson’s extraordinary contribution in his writing on the mosque shooting, which helped readers collectively process and make emotional sense out of that tragedy.’

WINNER: Paul Little – North & South/Bauer Media

JUDGES: Alan Young and John Gardner
‘The overall quality of the entries shows that artists and audiences from a very broad spectrum are well served across the media. Identifying one winner was extremely difficult, but Paul Little covers a huge range in a consistently intelligent, approachable and elegant style, providing the potential reader and the writers with the service to which all good reviewers aspire.’

WINNER: Mike White – North & South/Bauer Media

JUDGES: Ewan McDonald and Glenn Conway
‘Mike White’s writing elevates his portfolio above all others. He’s an extraordinary storyteller – or more accurately, he has an extraordinary ability to get people to tell their stories. He gets to the heart of every story, and every one of his stories has a heart.’

WINNER: Annabelle Lee-Mather – The Hui GSTV for MediaWorks

‘Through her work as executive producer of The Hui, a Great Southern Television production for Mediaworks, Annabelle Lee-Mathers leads a small team who provide Māori current affairs for all New Zealanders through 40 episodes a year. Her passion, courage and inventiveness for a unique field of story-telling extends to The Casketeers and, in 2019, the creation of the Matangireia documentary series and podcast about Māori political legacies. The judges were unanimous in recognising a pioneer who enriches New Zealand’s journalism and culture.’

Scholarship Winners

WINNER: Emma Russell – NZ Herald/NZME

JUDGES: Donna Chisholm and Lorelei Mason
‘Emma’s portfolio and her understanding of the current challenges facing patients undergoing cancer treatment in NZ showed she has a solid grasp of the issues and a mature and insightful appreciation of the wider causes and complexities. A worthy winner!’

WINNER: Nicholas Jones – NZ Herald/NZME

JUDGES: Donna Chisholm and Lorelei Mason
‘Nicholas Jones’ scholarship will allow him to further investigate a long under-reported public health disaster: the diabetes epidemic in New Zealand and its Pacific neighbours. The subject was the focus of Jones’ outstanding and timely portfolio of stories revealing how our health system is buckling under a tsunami of patients, leading to significant shortcomings and premature loss of life. His in-depth understanding of the subject is likely to lead to significant new revelations on a vitally important health issue.’

WINNER (joint): Natalie Akoorie – NZ Herald/NZME

JUDGES: Maramara Roderick, Tony Verdon and Venetia Sherson
‘The widening gap between rural and urban New Zealand is of increasing concern. Natalie Akoorie’s proposal aims to highlight the stark disparity in health, wealth, education, unemployment and quality of life that exists for Kiwis living outside of major cities.’

WINNER (joint): Aaron Leaman – Waikato Times/Stuff

‘The shortage of doctors in regional New Zealand is reaching crisis proportions and is about to worsen as a wave of baby-boomer rural GPs reach retirement age. Aaron Leaman will examine how Ontario found ways of ensuring people living in regional centres are provided with safe and adequate medical services’

WINNER (joint): Charles Anderson – Vanishing Point Studio

‘Charles Anderson will work on several mixed reality projects at the Emblematic Group in California, one of the world’s foremost producers of virtual, augmented and mixed reality.’

WINNER (joint): Mava Enoka – TVNZ

‘Mava Enoka will be based with the Al Jazeera international television network in Kuala Lumpur working on its Asian current affairs programme, 101 East.’

Feature Writing Winners

WINNER: Mike White – North & South/Bauer Media

JUDGES: Alan Young and Tony Verdon
‘A compelling and extremely well-executed portfolio that exposes and analyses disturbing failures in the justice system.’

WINNER: Florence Kerr – Stuff

JUDGES: Jim Tully and Sue Ahearn
‘The judges said few entries demonstrated the craft of feature-writing but Florence Kerr was a stand-out with an evocative, yet confronting portrait of Horeke, a community living in poverty that few New Zealanders imagine – supported by a moving account of the measles outbreak in Samoa.’

WINNER (joint): Steve Braunias – NZ Herald/NZME and

JUDGES: Geraldine Johns and John Roughan
‘These two features, different but related, are each exceptionally good. The first gives readers a warm, vivid portrait of three literary personalities, two of them in conversation about their mentor, the late Frank Sargeson. The second, a thorough and revealing investigation that removes a stain on Sargeson’s reputation, is an important contribution to New Zealand’s cultural record. Both pieces are written in the lively, personable style this journalist has made his own.’

WINNER (joint): Duncan Greive – The Spinoff

‘Duncan Greive’s writing style gets under your skin. He achieves a fine mix of solid research with a truly human representation of his subjects. His profile of an Auckland hospitality legend was a perfect portrait of a complicated character, written in a manner that was as entertaining as his subject.

Greive’s piece on a young Indian migrant convicted of fraud and now a musical success was an admirable extension of an original news story that had captured national interest. The sequel as penned by him was both fascinating and captivating. His portfolio encapsulates the essentials of feature writing.’

WINNER: Tayi Tibble –

JUDGES: Deborah Hill Cone and Megan Nicol Reed
‘Tayi’s unflinching self-reflection elevates an account of a visit to the Ihumatao protest into a powerful wake-up call to face our culture’s defining issue, our own collective whakama (shame). Her voice is vivid, intimate, and with just enough “gangster” mana to make us face some truths we might prefer not to see.’

WINNER: Joel MacManus – Stuff

JUDGES: Cheryl Norrie and Emma Fiel
‘The entries were of a very high standard, and many would have held their own in the open feature-writing category but Joel MacManus was a clear winner.

All three of his entries were a master class in story-telling, and his feature on scientist Dave Lowe is one of the best climate change stories the judges have read, lingering in the memory long after the newspaper has been put to one side.

Joel took the reader on a journey of the climate scientist’s career, a journey that maps how scientists measured climate change, New Zealand’s place in this and the slow realisation on the part of the scientific community that their warnings were being ignored.

His piece about the use of algorithms in the justice system was compelling, with a great use of personal stories. The historical piece on the Greymouth bombings was a fascinating trip down memory lane. First class journalism.’

WINNER: Nicholas Jones – NZ Herald/NZME

JUDGES: Bernard Lagan and David Hastings
‘In a strong field of finalists, Nicholas Jones’ entry stands out for the consistently high quality of his writing combined with agenda-setting research, initiative and originality. It shows a master of the craft of journalism at work, through the way he connects with readers by telling warm, human stories and using them to reveal and illustrate larger issues.’

RUNNER-UP: Michelle Duff – Stuff

WINNER: Aaron Smale – RNZ

JUDGES: Isabelle Oderberg and Noelle McCarthy
‘‘Aaron’s three pieces addressing inequality affecting Māori in the areas of economics, health and criminal justice were deeply moving and beautifully written. Aaron’s entry demonstrated hard-hitting journalism and analysis, matched by his ability to set a scene in total clarity. In awarding him longform feature writer of the year, we also acknowledge that there needs to be more reporting such as this in the Indigenous space to address issues of inequality being faced by Māori.’

RUNNER-UP (joint): Donna Chisholm – North & South and New Zealand Listener/Bauer Media
RUNNER-UP (joint): Mike White – North & South/Bauer Media

‘Donna and Mike both submitted work of the highest quality, which the judges wanted to acknowledge. We would also like to express our heartbreak at the closure of Bauer Media in New Zealand – its journalists were extremely well-represented in this category. We want to offer words of encouragement to all Bauer journalists who submitted work and implore you to please continue your essential public interest reporting for the benefit of all of us.’

Magazine Winners

WINNER: HOME New Zealand – Bauer Media

JUDGES: Lauren Quaintance and Melissa Gardi
‘Whether it’s a cover photo of a group of people socialising on a roof deck, or the inward focus of a home-owner relaxing, HOME instantly transcends you to a moment of time and place with covers that engage and inspire; a house becomes a home. With its thoughtful use of imagery and restrained, yet clever type Home is not afraid to take risks – an approach that has more than paid off.’

WINNER: HOME New Zealand – Bauer Media

JUDGES: Lisa Morton and Matt Straker
‘HOME has topped the bill again with beautiful design, generous images and understatement. The use of typography, colour and designer’s white space throughout have a quiet brilliance. Its muted colours create a calm visual landscape you want to take your time to explore. Attention to detail runs throughout and nothing feels unloved or overlooked. It’s a great lesson in design consistency, high quality and restraint. It’s a pleasure to pick up and to treasure.’

RUNNER-UP: Metro Magazine – Bauer Media

WINNER: Sunday Magazine – Sunday Star-Times/Stuff

JUDGES: Kate Coughlan and Sally Duggan
‘Sunday is well-edited, well-written and confident in what its audience wants. Though small in size, it uses photography boldly and every story is pertinent, never to waste the reader’s time with the mediocre.’

WINNER: Air Force News/Defence Public Affairs

JUDGES: Damien Venuto and Kate Coughlin
‘Brilliant photography, outstanding portraiture, clever design and confident use of graphics. It was a joy to pick up with consistently good stories and layouts on each page. A smart product suited to its disciplined audience.’

WINNER (joint): Metro Magazine – Bauer Media
WINNER (joint): New Zealand Geographic – Kōwhai Media

JUDGES: Lisa Morton and Sally Duggan
‘The judges found it impossible to make a call between these two stand-out titles. NZ Geographic is a multiple winner of this award, for very good reasons: it’s a class magazine with superb writing and visuals, and a portfolio of cross-platform offerings that amplify the brand and make it a national taonga. Metro, though, impressed us with its achievements in award year: with a new editor it’s back to its best: sassy, challenging and visually surprising. Some smart events and clever ideas for ad integration mean it achieves a lot with limited resources.’

Photography Winners

WINNER: Braden Fastier – Nelson Mail/Stuff

JUDGES: Anthony McKee and Victoria Birkinshaw
‘Braden Fastier’s folio of feature images appealed to the judges on several levels. The work has a strong and engaging narrative while at the same time being sensitive to the emotion of his subjects. Within the folio we see some great use of light, and some very strong compositions that don’t necessarily follow the conventional rules, but they will work very well. All up we felt Braden’s work would be an asset on any features page, and we look forward to seeing more of his photography the future. Congratulations.’

WINNER: George Heard – The Press/Stuff

JUDGES: Mike Bowers and Rob Taggart
‘A heart-breaking set of photographs, skilfully captured under great pressure and the most trying of circumstances, George Heard was obviously on the scene soon after the incident bringing the viewer right into the horrific aftermath of the killing spree. Georges work compellingly conveys the tragedy and heartbreak of the Christchurch murders. These pictures stay with you. A very strong and deserving winner for this highly contested year in news. A very strong and deserving winner for this highly contested year in news.’

FINALIST: Mark Baker – The Press/Stuff

‘Mark Baker produced a strong and graphic set of photographs of one of the darkest days in New Zealand history, in such a hotly contested year of photojournalism he is a deserving finalist.’

FINALIST: Chris Skelton – Stuff

‘A strong and well thought out portfolio, Chris is a skilled photographer with a sharp eye for composition and an ability to steal the moment of peak action. The shot of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is particularly powerful and holds the viewer with the cascading emotions of the children surrounding her.’

FINALIST: Rosa Woods – Dominion Post/Stuff

‘Rosa has produced a strong and graphic news portfolio from the other great tragedy in New Zealand during 2019, the Whakaari/White Island volcano eruption in December. A keen eye for the right moment these strongly composed set of photographs deserve to be recognised in this hotly contested category.’

WINNER: Stacy Squires – The Press, Dominion Post, Sunday Star-Times/Stuff

JUDGES: Mike Bowers and Rob Taggart
‘Stacey has produced a strong portfolio drawn mostly from the one event at the Linwood Ave mosque in Christchurch. The photograph of a bloodstained survivor walking out of the police cordon is heart-breaking and haunting. It is one of the stand-out images from that darkest of days in Christchurch.’

WINNER: Mark Baker – Associated Press

JUDGES: Anthony McKee and Victoria Birkinshaw
‘Mark’s sports portfolio is world class. He has demonstrated his skills with photographs across a range of sports from cricket, to diving and rugby with a clear pre knowledge of each sport, precise timing and superb camera skills, rendering compelling and pin-sharp results with the added bonus of a sense of humour. Photographs like this do not happen by just pointing a camera at the action.

Mark has produced a stand-out sports portfolio this year and is a deserving winner.’

RUNNER-UP: Iain McGregor – Stuff

‘What we liked about this dexterous portfolio was the thoughtful consideration of background – the birds-eye view for the surfer, the higher vantage point than the flying biker, the foggy sun behind the skier. Iain McGregor’s initiative paid off with a captivating series.’

WINNER: Cameron McLaren – New Zealand Geographic/Kōwhai Publishing

JUDGES: Anthony McKee and Victoria Birkinshaw
‘Cameron’s five years of repeated and respectful work at Gloriavale stood out to the judges.
We saw a consistency in quality to the images as well as breadth, careful composition and technical skill to convey a story in a way that we had not previously seen.’

WINNER: Alan Gibson – NZ Herald/NZME

JUDGES: Louise Graham and Rob Taggart
‘Alan nailed every aspect of photography in this body of work including images from two of the most significant new stories in New Zealand’s history.
Covering such tragic news stories requires strength and compassion and this is clear in the image of strangers consoling each other outside Linwood mosque- a simple image that tells us much about the universal reaction to the shootings.

Alan has proven he is a photographer who can use his range of talent  to capture the beauty of the country , the  happiness and love of a family and the fearlessness of a bikie. Alan has a special gift – to record rather than intrude.’

RUNNER-UP: Mark Baker – Associated Press

Video Journalism And Broadcasting Winners

WINNER: Luke McPake with “Death Bed: The Story of Kelly Savage” – RNZ

JUDGES: Jessica Cartwright and Peter Young
This video was captivating from beginning to end and showcased not only Luke McPake’s technical skills, but also his powerful and creative storytelling. The medical restraint demonstration was horrifying and confronting, and it needed to be, in order to show the true reality behind Japan’s mental health system. This is an emotional story that needed to be told.

This was a sensitive story on many levels. It required empathy, understanding and a high degree of commitment to tell. It was beautifully shot and well-constructed with the pace and editing reflecting the gravity of its subject.’

WINNER: Cass Marrett – Re: / TVNZ

JUDGES: Jane Wrightson and Paul Cutler
‘This was new-media reporting at its creative and refreshing best. Cass used all her multi-media skills to produce fascinating profiles of two engaging women – an internationally-acclaimed author and a young local government politician. She obviously found a way to gain instant rapport with both talent and used this, combined with nice shooting and pacey editing, to target Re:’s young demographic audience.’

WINNER: Lawrence Smith – Stuff

JUDGES: Paul Cutler and Peter Young
‘This was a wonderful example of a sole operator thinking creatively out of the square. Each entry displayed excellent video, audio and editing skills required to tell that particular story – from illustrating with re-enactment what could have been a mundane interview, to finding visual enhancement to provide an historical perspective to a travel assignment.

These pieces were beautifully shot and well thought through, creating an engaging story that was visually interesting and well constructed.’

WINNER: Stuff Circuit/Stuff and Māori Television Infinite Evil

JUDGES: Drew Ambrose and Sonya Wilson
‘This world class investigative documentary takes the viewer beyond the horror of Christchurch to look at the dark driving forces that lead to the massacre.  It is a stellar example of tenacious reportage with high production values and meticulous research.  In a very competitive category, it was the clear winner.’

WINNER: 1 News/TVNZ with Barbara DreaverMeasles lockdown

JUDGES: Jane Wrightson and Kamahl Santamaria
‘Excellent coverage of a developing story, in a remote place.  Barbara showed the viewer the real outcome of measles, for an audience that may have underestimated its impact.  Very powerful storytelling, and proof of the value of a reporter with their own regular ‘patch’.’

WINNER:Sunday/TVNZ with Jehan Casinader Black Friday

JUDGES: Erica Lloyd and Wayne Hay
‘It’s a difficult thing for a weekly show to turn around something quickly on a fast-changing news story. On this occasion, the team didn’t just rely on a montage of news clips to throw something together, as can often be the case. Instead, they perfectly captured the drama, emotion and heartbreak of those first few moments and days after the mosque attacks by mainly using their own footage and interviewees. Nicely scripted, structured and shot. Superb story-telling, sure footed and fast. Congratulations.’

RUNNER-UP: Seven Sharp/TVNZ Harri Brown’s story

Judges’ comment:
‘An emotional piece well told in a unique way using the children’s voices. This was cleverly done and took the viewers on a journey with the parents as they went through a traumatic experience.’

FINALIST: Taranaki Daily News/Stuff with Andy Jackson “Fight of his life, Tony Pascoe”

Judges’ comment:
‘Adored this story.’

WINNER:Re:/TVNZ Rediscovering Aotearoa: Aroha/Love

JUDGES: Erica Lloyd and Wayne Hay

‘This was not just another follow-up story to the Christchurch mosque attacks. This incredible story had to be the winner; it taught us something essential, compassion, which shone through this accomplished and nuanced work.

It was a touching, emotional story from a unique perspective looking at many different layers such as loss, race, religion, tolerance, acceptance and love. The structure, the characters chosen, and camerawork were excellent. The final shot of this young, mixed race couple smiling at the camera capped the story off perfectly. Nice work.’

RUNNER-UP: Sunday/TVNZ The Numbers Game

Judges’ comment:
‘Second in a very close race. This is what great broadcast journalism is about. Taking a story, that at first glance wouldn’t make great television viewing, and making it compelling. It was emotional, cleverly written and structured. The shooting and editing were excellent for a story with limited picture opportunities. Superbly executed story telling.’

FINALIST: Checkpoint/RNZ “Oranga Tamariki uplift from Samoan family”

Judges’ comment:
‘This one – the live real-time element mean it needs calling out for merit – superb use of the medium and one of the most important stories of the year. Respect.’

Reporting Winners

WINNER: Blair Ensor – The Press/Stuff

JUDGES: Irene Chapple and Scott Campbell
‘The field in this category was extraordinarily strong. And the winner was an absolute standout. This portfolio of stories had everything. There was investigative clout, initiative, impact, beautiful writing and presentation. Truly impressive journalism.’

WINNER:Emma Russell – NZ Herald/NZME

JUDGES: Jo Malcolm and Sue Ahearn
‘‘The judges said Emma Russell’s Cancer Disgrace series was journalism at its best, weaving heart wrenching stories like that of cancer patient Blair Vining with hard data from DHB’s on admissions and referral rates.  They were very impressed with Emma’s breadth of investigative work and how she presented it in her series, combining excellent story telling with hard to get and surprisingly candid interviews with doctors, specialists and the Minister of Health.   Her work revealed for the first time the extent to which all New Zealanders are not treated equally when it comes to cancer treatment and led to the government announcing a 10 year plan to tackle cancer.’

WINNER:Patrick Gower – Newshub/MediaWorks

JUDGES: Jessica Cartwright and Lynda van Kempen
‘In a high quality field, Patrick Gower’s portfolio was compelling viewing. His portfolio was impressive – skilfully woven stories with universal appeal.

It was made up of two two-part stories, one focusing on white supremacy in New Zealand and the other on White Island victims and heroes. His third story was a human-interest piece on the All Black Barrett brothers’ younger sister Zara, who has Down Syndrome.

The hate crime pieces were billed as an unflinching look at racism in this country and delivered the goods. It was a hard-hitting, in-depth investigation exposing white supremacy, in the wake of the Mosque killings.

The White Island stories featured sensitively handled interviews with a victim’s brother and a hero pilot. Gower’s obvious rapport with his interview subjects also shone through in the heart-warming story about Zara Barrett, which highlighted a side of the close-knit family not seen before and raised awareness of Down Syndrome.’

RUNNER-UP: Kurt Bayer – NZ Herald

WINNER:Te Aniwa Hurihanganui – RNZ

JUDGES: Maramena Roderick and Scott Campbell
‘Te Aniwa explains complex issues in a simple and engaging way. Importantly, delivered new and fresh angles not seen elsewhere i.e. Closed Adoption of Māori Children spoke with Pākeha parents/the challenge of a Māori adoptee in bilingual units when they don’t know their whakapapa/explained what whakapapa and legislation meant. Compelling storytelling on dual platforms is a real skill.

Well written for website, and radio, and effective on both platforms.The dual platform, and skill to be able to write to cover both was what won it. Exceptional reporting for one who is relatively new to industry.’

RUNNER-UP: Hikurangi Jackson – MARAE/TVNZ
‘These were strong stories, engaging and with good balance. Hikurangi approached the Ihumātao story in a fair way, and was one of the first (maybe first) to have both sides of the story.

He has a very personable style, a conversation rather than a hard-line interview with exceptional results i.e. Men’s Medicine – a simple trek in the bush ended with Māori men breaking down on camera. Not only puts a unique lens on Māori stories but can take a less reported issue and make it matter i.e. Tākiwatanga – Māori Autism. Very close to winner.’

WINNER:Kate Evans – New Zealand Geographic/Kōwhai Media

JUDGES: Kimberley Collins and Michael Field
‘Kate’s entry was spectacular. In particular, the depth and scale of her piece on the fishing industry made for a riveting read. Kate’s ability to set the scene instantly draws you in — allowing the reader to connect deeply with the piece and feel as though they are part of her journey to explore complicated issues.

We particularly appreciated her use of interviews to explore different facets of the stories and weave together a narrative that represents diverse viewpoints. The spotted shag story, by contrast, was fun and charismatic. It was able to paint a colourful picture of seabird conservation for a species that is otherwise not well known by the average New Zealander.

Overall, these stories were accessible and engaging, leaving room for the reader to think about how their own actions may make a difference. Both stories are a credit to long-form journalism, accompanied by stunning images and giving the author space to be critical and thoughtful about the topics without risking a loss of interest. Kate is a credit to this field!’

WINNER: Eloise Gibson –

JUDGES: Barbara Fountain and Emily Wilson
‘In her entry, Eloise Gibson showed the ability to not only communicate well the complex science that lies beneath a seemingly simple environmental solution – plant more trees, but she also tackled the convoluted world of science funding and academic politics. She is not only a good writer and reporter but also an investigator with a very cool head – a rare talent.’

WINNER: Patrick Gower for “Exposing white supremacy in New Zealand” – Newshub/MediaWorks

JUDGES: Nick Brown and Rod Vaughan
The judges found Patrick Gower’s confronting and painstaking investigation into the white supremacy movement following the Christchurch mosque attack put much needed context around New Zealand’s most important news story of the year.’

RUNNER-UP: Matt Shand for “NZ First donations investigation” – Waikato Times, Dominion Post/Stuff

WINNER: Stuff – “Product of Australia

JUDGES: James Hollings and Rod Vaughan
‘This was an exhaustive, compelling and penetrating investigation of an issue that has created a deep rift in New Zealand’s relationship with Australia. The storytelling was of the highest standard and glaringly exposed the consequences of Australia’s shameful policy of using New Zealand as a dumping ground for people it doesn’t want.’

RUNNER-UP: RNZ Eviction of Tamaki state housing tenants”

‘This story investigated an important but under-acknowledged social issue – the de-homing of hundreds of families and massive disruption of local communities under the guise of redevelopment. The reporting showed initiative, empathy and tenacity in identifying the bigger story behind an apparently ‘positive’ PR opportunity, and patiently developing that story. They also showed a wider context by following the participants through the whole process, not just concentrating on the negative aspects of the issue – thus providing readers and listeners with a comprehensive, balanced account of this issue.’

WINNER: Melanie Reid –

JUDGES: Janetta Mackay and Lynda van Kempen
‘Powerful is an over-used word, but it barely conveys the full import of a story that is at once compelling, horrifying and needed to be told. To do that, it needed an exceptionally tenacious journalist and in Melanie Reid the right mix of skills and humanity exposed the sorry secret saga of Oranga Tamariki uplifts and ensured the public and politicians could look away no longer.

Head and shoulders above the rest, in what was a very strong category.’

WINNER: 1 News/TVNZ with Barbara Dreaver “Samoan measles crisis”

JUDGES: Ali Ikram and Steve Foley
‘‘In a year that generated epic news stories New Zealand’s media delivered outstanding journalism. But it was the work of a solitary reporter whose stories brought into the living rooms of this country, the catastrophic impact our vaccination rates can have in the lives of people in the Pacific that stood out. Barbara Dreaver’s unflinching reports on the Samoan measles epidemic including the insidious influence of US anti-vaxxers, the role of traditional healers and finally the joint funerals of young victims Lologa Samuela and Isaako Junior were unforgettable.’

RUNNER-UP: Newshub/MediaWorks with Thomas Mead Christchurch terror attacks”

WINNER: Oranga Tamariki uplifts

JUDGES: Michael Donaldson and Nick Venter
‘From the initial shocking footage that was obviously gathered after a long process of trust-building, through a series of well-considered, thought-provoking commentary pieces this campaign exposed the deeply-flawed and unjust one-sided process of the state uplifting new born babies from their parents. Fighting for justice on behalf of those who cannot fight for themselves is a core responsibility of media and this is a shining example in a strong cluster of entries.’

RUNNER-UP: NZ Herald/NZME and Greenstone Fighting the Demon

WINNER: Logan Church – RNZ

JUDGES: Emma Field and John Crowley
‘The live radio cross by Logan Church in the aftermath of the Christchurch terrorist attack was a standout in a strong field of entries. It was absolutely compelling. His talent was well selected, his interview was gripping, emotional but insightful. He showed compassion but also was able to skilfully do his job to provide information and insight to the community about one of New Zealand’s worst days. 

His other two entries were strong local stories, both well-constructed longer-form radio pieces, where he gained the trust the people he interviewed to outline the issues, and drew the listener to make them feel like they were there. This is the best kind of journalism, and Logan displays skill level beyond his years, but also a passion for a good story.’

WINNER: Ashley Stanley –

JUDGES: Bruce Morris and Foster Niumata
‘The judges agreed that Ashley Stanley showed strong writing skills, a keen sense of news judgment and a terrific sympathy with her subjects. Her stories were highly readable and, best of all, appealing to a big audience.’

WINNER: Virginia Fallon – Kāpiti Observer/Stuff

JUDGES: Felicity Anderson and Glenn Conway
‘A great mix of stories that got to the heart of issues and people. Tackling the subjects showed courage, tenacity and great connection. What made this portfolio the winner was the writing was good too. Great intros and flow and showed a range of hard news reporting to feature writing.’

FINALIST: Sadie Beckman – Horowhenua Chronicle/NZME

‘A good mixed portfolio ranging across a variety of subjects. The injection of opinion writing was refreshing. It is something that could be cultivate by more community publishers where issues need to be explained using the background knowledge journalists have. It was brave of this writer to try.’

FINALIST: Laurilee McMichael – Taupō & Tūrangi Weekender/NZME

‘Lovely intros. Stories answer the 5Ws and H and have nice flow. The portfolio mirrors the whole community well and shows the trust the writer has developed with her community.’

FINALIST: Gus Patterson – Oamaru Mail/Allied Press

‘The writer serves up stories that makes the reader feel right at home in the heart of the community. The portfolio is a great mix of the community’s struggles and its heroes.’

WINNER: Hamish McNeilly – The Press/Stuff

JUDGES: John Crowley and Venetia Sherson
‘The quality of the many entries in the Regional Reporter category underlines that New Zealand is well served via journalism in every corner of the country. Talent is spread across all media – from the biggest to some of the smallest. The judges’ selection of five finalists is indicative of the wide-ranging level of skills presented to them. However, they were unanimous in their selection of a reporter whose portfolio displays all the many talents required of an operator in the regions.

Hamish McNeilly is a reporter with an exceptional eye for detail and a curiosity that keeps him tracking new leads. He is also a fine writer, carrying the reader forward with pace and a compelling narrative. His portfolio – on shark attacks, the mosque gunman, Scarfies and the mother of Amber Rose Rush – shows he can tackle any story. The stories from his patch in Dunedin resonate with a far wider audience.’

WINNER: Dana Johannsen – Stuff

JUDGES: Bruce Morris and Foster Niumata
‘Dana Johannsen is a terrific story-teller. She has the luxury of time and space, but wastes neither. Her entry about a swimming scandal, a cheating runner, a pair of athletics defectors, and cannabis doping was disturbing, a little dismaying, and sometimes delightful. But when the end of each story crept up on you, you felt you were in the know – and relished the ride.’

WINNER: Tim Hunter – NBR

JUDGES: Felicity Anderson and Owen Poland
‘This winning portfolio shows a business journalist who is confident in his ability to tackle difficult stories in depth. The writing style has a skip to its beat that keeps the reader engaged. The range of topics is a step apart from straight report writing and that is another reason it’s a winner.’

RUNNER-UP: Nikki Macdonald – Dominion Post and Stuff

Judges’ comment:
‘Business reporting doesn’t have to just about crunching numbers and publicly listed companies. This writer’s portfolio covered a wide range of business that matters to the wider public. The writing provided clarity and the story flow was excellent.’

FINALIST: Katie Bradford – TVNZ

Judges’ comment:
‘How refreshing to see a broadcast entry. The stories were good ones too and well covered. Hard to measure against the advantages of longer form print.’

FINALIST: Bernard Hickey –

Judges’ comment:
‘There is a real role for interpretive writing in business journalism and when it is good it should be celebrated.’

NO PLACING (judges’ comments only): Zoe Hunter – Bay of Plenty Times/NZME

Judges’ comment:
‘While we don’t normally comment on entries that don’t make finalist I would like to encourage this writer to keep at what she is doing for her community. Business reporting is important, especially in fast growth communities. This entry was very worthy.’

WINNER: Audrey YoungNZ Herald/NZME

JUDGES: Deborah Coddington and John Roughan
‘Audrey Young provided a portfolio in which each of the four pieces of work was a fine example of a different dimension of political journalism. Two were news breaks, one agenda setting and the other no less important in holding coalition ministers to account. A commentary piece, written on a rapidly moving story, drew on her institutional knowledge to make a devastating judgment on a senior civil servant. And a gentle feature gave readers insights to be gained from a professional who is respected at the highest level of government.’

WINNER: Jehan Casinader – Sunday/TVNZ

JUDGES: Kamahl Santamaria and Sonya Wilson
‘Jehan shows the ability to not only break agenda-setting stories, but also to craft well-scripted and thoughtful issue-based pieces.  He is also to be commended on the very quick turnaround of his Christchurch mosque attack story – less than 48 hours from ‘breaking to broadcast’ and it lost none of its quality or impact – arguably, it gained even more.  Fleet-footed, intelligent, and empathetic… Jehan clearly has mastery over the television current affairs format.’

RUNNER-UP: Paula Penfold – Stuff Circuit and Māori Television

WINNER: Guyon Espiner – RNZ

JUDGES: Alan Sunderland and Andrew Holden
‘Guyon broke one of the biggest political stories of the year with persistence, clarity and determination. The rest of the body of his work also demonstrated a commitment to strong reporting on issues of public importance.’

RUNNER-UP: Phil Pennington – RNZ

‘We did think a runner-up was justified in this category, as Phil had produced some excellent pieces and his work in the wake of Christchurch was particularly strong. The Christchurch massacre was such a huge story that I think it is important to have that recognised by having Phil as runner up.’

Newspaper Winners

WINNER: The Press/Stuff

JUDGES: Bruce Morris and Matt Straker

‘The Press combined impact, simplicity and clarity to deftly deliver its stories. Their entries demonstrated a strong ability to remain true to the paper’s design identity and appropriate to the story and the reader by knowing when to shout and when to whisper in a noisy newsstand environment. That takes great confidence and skill.

This was a very closely contested category in which no entry was able to show uniform excellence across all five pages. Some great front pages were often let down within the same portfolio by a lack of word power, striking image or good design balance. The Press sneaked in ahead of the pack, showing a combination of impact and simplicity.’

WINNER: The Beacon/Beacon Media Group

JUDGES: Cheryl Norrie and Mike Fletcher
‘For the second year running, The Beacon, of Whakatane, is the Community Newspaper of the Year.
The Beacon continues to produce a complete and well-crafted package for readers built on a foundation of solid news values. Its coverage of the killer explosion at Whakaari/White Island was first-class.

The Beacon demonstrates it cares about what happens on its patch, from the big story to club activities.
Overall, the entries reflected a determination for the papers to get involved with their communities. The papers provided quality story-telling. Through letters, editorials and opinion pieces they offered professional and trustworthy material for debate.

The news/views coverage was wide-ranging, balanced, professional and relentless.

The judging was again tight.’

RUNNER-UP (joint): Mountain Scene/Allied Press
RUNNER-UP (joint): The Courier, Timaru/Allied Press

WINNER: Waikato Times/Stuff

JUDGES: Anna Fifield, Cate Brett and Paul Thompson
‘The Waikato Times stood out from the rest of the pack in a crowded field of lively regional papers. Its reporters broke news with national implications with the New Zealand First funding scoop, and embarked on a New Zealand history campaign that had tangible results. It also excelled with its coverage of the Whakaari White Island eruption, producing heart-wrenching coverage of the tragedy. The Waikato Times showed how local papers cannot just reflect what’s happening in the community around them but work to make that community better.’


JUDGES: Anna Fifield, Cate Brett and Paul Thompson
‘The New Zealand Herald delivered the most comprehensive and consistent daily paper in the country, highlighted by tight news writing, strong design and graphics and deft editorial judgment. The Herald is a substantial newspaper, and yet retains an engaging mix of light and shade. It reflects and dissects the nation’s key stories better than any of its print competitors.’

FINALIST: The Press/Stuff

Judges’ comment:
‘The Press excelled with its coverage of yet another tragedy to befall Christchurch, the mosque shootings. But beyond that day, the newspaper has been innovative with its content, making good use of interactive features online and branching out into podcasts. It has also taken on an assertive public interest role, covering pernicious but often overlooked problems like domestic violence and casual racism. The Press is not just reflecting what is happening in the community but trying to make it a better place.’

WINNER: Sunday Star-Times/Stuff

JUDGES: Anna Fifield, Cate Brett and Paul Thompson
‘The Sunday Star-Times is a bright, engaging and compelling paper that gives readers something fresh and different: a brilliantly edited assemblage of fresh news, arresting opinion, and solid analysis.’

RUNNER-UP: Weekend Herald/NZME


JUDGES: Anna Fifield, Cate Brett and Paul Thompson
The judges found this a difficult category to determine but, ultimately, we could not look past the New Zealand Herald’s consistency and comprehensiveness and its record of setting the news agenda with incisive daily journalism. The Herald is a strongly-edited paper with a depth of content that sets it apart.’

Digital Winners

WINNER: “White Silence” RNZ and Stuff

JUDGES: Diana Goodman and Nance Haxton
Despite competing in a category packed with an impressive depth of quality, White Silence stood out for its powerful retelling of the Erebus story. Skilfully researched and produced, it used the freedom of the podcast medium to guide listeners through even the most complicated elements of the tragedy.  A masterful use of both archive and contemporary material, along with sympathetic presentation, resulted in a compelling new take on New Zealand’s worst peacetime disaster.’

WINNER (joint): “He Kākano Ahau” RNZ and Ursula Grace Films

JUDGES: Diana Goodman and Nance Haxton
‘He Kākano Ahau is a thought-provoking series exploring what it means to be a young Maori living in the city. Recorded largely on location, the episodes challenged listeners to consider the far-reaching consequences of colonisation and the battle by urban Maori to reconnect with their roots. The persuasive power of people’s voices was used to transport the audience into the conversation.’ 

WINNER (joint): “Out of My Mind” Stuff

JUDGES: Diana Goodman and Nance Haxton
‘‘Out of My Mind gave listeners a sometimes distressing view from inside the heads of three people with mental health conditions. This podcast series was thoughtful, brave and truly insightful, combining strong face to face interviews with seamless editing, music production and sound effects that were deftly used and never overplayed. Powerful and incredibly engaging, with the trickiest of subject matter.’


JUDGES: Alex Spence, Isabelle Oderberg and Peter Bale
‘There were several standout performers in a highly eventful year for New Zealand journalism, but it was the Herald website that led the way on the biggest stories, including the Christchurch mosque shooting.

The Herald best captured the impact of the ‘They Are Us’ message on the Christchurch murders in a strong field.’


Judges’ comment:
‘Newsroom is runner up to reflect its impactful investigative reporting on stories of national importance.’

WINNER: “Fighting the Demon” NZ Herald/NZME and Greenstone

JUDGES: Jo Malcolm and Vicki Wilkinson-Baker
‘’This story was compelling right from the start. Using powerful video and excellent and easy to understand graphics along with incredible talent and readable but hard-hitting text the judges felt this entry was a stand-out winner. Raw and real, it held the viewer right to the end and the digital components were seamlessly interwoven into the story to add many layers to this excellent piece of journalism.’


JUDGES: Alex Spence, Isabelle Oderberg and Peter Bale
‘There were several standout performers in a highly eventful year for New Zealand journalism, but it was the Herald website that led the way on the biggest stories, including the Christchurch mosque shooting.

The Herald best captured the impact of the ‘They Are Us’ message on the Christchurch murders in a strong field.’


Judges’ comment:
‘Newsroom is runner up to reflect its impactful investigative reporting on stories of national importance.’


JUDGES: Alex Spence, John Baker and Joseph Barratt
‘This was an incredibly strong field in 2019, but it was the Herald which impressed the judges most, owing to a bold strategy for expanding its audience and a powerhouse news operation that dominated the biggest moments of an eventful year.’